Private John Colter

Drawing of John Colter

Sketch copyright by Michael Haynes.

P.S. After the discipline problems I had at Camp Wood, I turned out to be a pretty reliable member of the expedition and an excellent hunter. On the return journey I received permission to leave the party at the Mandan villages and join a small trapping expedition headed back up the river. I spent four more years in the mountains as an independent trapper and also worked for Manuel Lisa's Missouri Fur Company. I was the first non-Indian to see what is now Yellowstone National Park. I escaped from the Blackfeet who captured me and my friend John Potts at the Three Forks of the Missouri. Potts was killed, but I ran for miles through the countryside, finally hiding from my pursuers in a steam, hiding under some driftwood. I returned to Missouri, settled on a farm, married, and died of an illness during service with Nathan Boone's Ranger Company in the War of 1812.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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